Admissions Frequestly Asked Questions

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Questions about the admissions process:


  • What are the requirements for admission?
  • Matriculants are required to have at least a Bachelor's Degree.


  • How much is the application fee?
  • The application fee is $105.00 U.S. The online application fee must be paid by credit card. Your application will not be processed unless payment is submitted and received. No other form of payment can be accepted.


  • How do I apply?
  • To apply you must fill out the online application which can be found here.


  • When is the deadline for submitting the application and supplemental materials?
  • For the 2017-2018 application, the deadline is December 1, 2017, 5:00 PM EST.


  • Once I submit my application, can I make any changes?
  • No, once submitted an application cannot be altered in anyway.


  • Can I submit my application or any other supplemental materials in person, or through the mail?
  • No, the only materials we will accept in paper form are official GRE/TOEFL scores sent to the Graduate School Admissions Office by ETS.


  • Can I earn a Master's Degree?
  • No, we only offer a PhD.


  • Can I apply to more than one program within the Division?
  • Yes, you can apply to up to two DMS programs.


  • Can I reapply to the Division?
  • Yes, applicants should follow the regular application instructions.

    Previous applicants must submit a new application.  The new application must include all required documents; submit three updated letters of recommendation, transcripts, test scores, application fee and any other supporting materials.

    The Graduate School will not accept more than three applications from any individual during the course of his or her academic career.

    You can go here to learn more.


  • Can I submit more than 3 letters of recommendation?
  • Yes, the online application will accept up to four letters of recommendation. Our minimum is three letters.  Any letters sent to the Division by mail will not be included as part of your application.


  • Who should I ask to write my letters of recommendation?
  • Strong consideration is given to letters of recommendation, particularly to comments from individuals who have firsthand knowledge of your academic and research experience.


  • If I enter with a master's degree, can I receive any credit for the coursework I have already completed?
  • There have been rare occasions where this has been possible. All students are expected to take all of our required courses. We do not typically grant transfer credit for coursework done elsewhere.


  • How long will it take to earn my Ph.D.?
  • The average time for a student to earn a Ph.D. is 5-6 years.


  • If admitted, may I defer?
  • We may grant a deferral to an admitted applicant if he/she is granted an academic scholarship after they have been admitted. Deferrals are granted on a case by case basis. If you plan to defer if you were admitted, we recommend waiting to apply until you can begin our program on time.


  • Can I transfer from another institution into the Division of Medical Sciences?
  • No, we do not accept transfer students. However, if you are currently a PhD student you can apply to our program and compete against the regular applicant pool.


  • What is the minimum GPA required in order to be considered for admission?
  • We do not have a minimum GPA.


  • Do I need to find a faculty member willing to accept me in his/her lab before I apply?
  • No, you do not apply to a lab but to a program. Our students rotate in labs of faculty in whose research they are interested. Applicants do not need to secure rotations before applying to the Division.


  • Can I visit and take a tour of the campus?
  • The Division of Medical Sciences does not offer any campus tours.




  • Do I need to take the GRE in order to apply to DMS?
  • While GRE scores are no longer required, if you are applying to BIG or SHBT it is strongly recommended that you still submit scores.


  • How long are GRE scores valid for?
  • GRE scores are valid for 5 years.


  • What are the minimum scores I need to receive in order to be considered for admission?
  • We do not have a minimum GRE score.


  • Do I need to take the GRE Subject exam?
  • We do not require applicants to take a subject exam. Taking the subject exam is optional and can be taken at your discretion.


  • What code should I use to submit my exam score to Division of Medical Sciences?
  • 3451. No department code is required.


  • Can I submit MCAT scores instead of GRE?
  • No, we cannot accept MCAT scores. All applicants are required to provide GRE general scores.




  • Do I need to take the TOEFL?
  • If English is not your native language, and you did not receive your bachelor's degree from an institution where English is the language of instruction, you must take the TOEFL.


    If you have a master’s degree where English is the language of instruction you are not exempt from taking the TOEFL.


  • By when do I need to take the TOEFL?
  • We recommend taking the TOEFL no later than October of the year in which you apply.


  • How long are TOEFL scores valid?
  • TOEFL scores are valid for two years.


  • What is the minimum score needed in order to be eligible for admission?
  • We require a minimum of 100 on the TOEFL iBT.


  • What code should I use to submit my exam score to Division of Medical Sciences?
  • 3451. No department code is required.




  • How much does the program cost, and is there financial aid available?
  • All students receive full tuition and stipend support while they are enrolled and making satisfactory progress toward the Ph.D. degree. For the 2017-2018 academic year, the stipend support is $37,260 or $3,105 per month.


  • Do I need to obtain scholarships/fellowships?
  • Applicants to the Division of Medical Sciences other than international applicants to the SHBT program should NOT­ complete the Statement of Financial Resources for Graduate Study. These students receive full tuition and stipend support while they are enrolled. International applicants to the SHBT program who are not permanent legal residents of the US must complete the Statement of Financial Resources for Graduate Study.


  • Do I receive a stipend?
  • Yes, for the 2017-2018 academic year students received $3,105 per month.


  • Will I receive health insurance?
  • Yes, all students are eligible to enroll in Harvard's student health insurance.


  • Does Harvard provide housing?
  • Harvard has many options for housing. There are numerous off campus rentals through private agencies as well.


International Students


  • Do you accept international students?
  • Yes.


  • Are there any special requirements for international students?
  • We expect that international students will have a strong command of the English language. For those students whose degree is from a non-English speaking university you are required to take the TOEFL and obtain a minimum score of 100 on the iBT.


  • Do you fund international students? Or do I need to secure my own funding?
  • All students receive full tuition and stipend support while they are enrolled and making satisfactory progress toward the Ph.D. degree. The division strongly encourages applicants to apply for support from extramural agencies.


  • I received my undergraduate degree from a non-American university? Do I need to obtain a Master's Degree in additional to an undergraduate?
  • No, matriculants are required to have at least a Bachelor's degree.




Application Deadline

The application for Fall 2018 matriculation is now closed. We expect the application for Fall 2019 matriculation to open in September 2018.

In order to apply to one of the six programs within the Division of Medical Sciences:

  1. Select "Division of Medical Sciences" from the program selection drop down menu
  2. Select from the subject drop down the Ph.D. subject for which you are applying:
    • Bioinformatics & Integrative Genomics (BIG)
    • Biological and Biomedical Sciences (BBS)
    • Immunology
    • Neuroscience
    • Speech & Hearing Bioscience Technology
    • Virology


The next application deadline will be December 1, 2018 at 5:00pm eastern time.


Contact Information

DMS Student Affairs Office

Harvard Medical School

TMEC 435
260 Longwood Ave
Boston, MA 02115

(617) 432-0162

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